NEXT EVENTS: IRONMAN BOULDER 2014, Run Rabbit Run 50-miler

It's never too late to be what you might have been. --George Eliot

This blog is about my journey as an asthmatic, hypothyroid, formerly plus-sized endurance athlete. It's occasionally interrupted with things that have nothing to do with that or whining about my weight and horrible eating habits. "You're never too old to be what you might have been" --George Eliot

Monday, September 29, 2008

Let me know if this hurts.

Flex your toes for me. Does it hurt when you flex your toes?
No.

Does it hurt when I push here?

No.

How about here?
mmmm, no.

Anything?
No.

Here?
Nothing.

What about here? (He pressed on my leg toward the inside, about 3 inches up from my ankle)
OWOWOWOWOWOWOW!

Okay, well let's just get that x-ray. Meanwhile, you know the rule: If it hurts, don't do it for a few weeks.
How much is "a few?"

What have you got in mind?
I'm signed up to do a 50 k trail run in 3 weeks.


Hmm. Well, let's just see what the x-rays say, okay? Meanwhile, I think you're right not to do anymore long distance running on pavement. And hey, you can still bicycle!

Oh YAY.

...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fun with Athletes

Since I couldn't do the Elephant man I decided to redeux the aid station with DreadPirate and her people, Courtney, Steve and Orlando. We didn't get the best spot, but it didn't matter, because we offered what the other aid stations didn't offer:

GELS. MUSIC. ICE-COLD SPONGES. DANCING GIRLS.

They just offered water and gatorade. >Smirks<

They
just offered people standing around, cheering.
>Snorts<

We
were situated at mile 1 and 5 of the out-and-back 6 mile run, and played loud happy music, handed out gels and said ice-cold sponges, purchased with team funds, along with the water and gatorade provided by the RD.

And so it was that I learned the following about my fellow athletes:

1) On a long, hot run they really appreciated happy music, especially the reggae. The loud heavy metal, not so much. Music that made people smile also included Aretha Franklin, Hey Go, Lots of stuff by Black-eyed Peas, Elvis, Bob Marley, and some others. The key was happy, with a strong beat.

2) Some of the athletes really appreciated if I danced and flirted with them to the beat of the music while offering gels. They smiled on this difficult, extremely hilly course, and looked slightly less miserable, and danced and flirted back. Especially, for some mysterious reason, the guys. Go figure.

3) A small percentage took the caffeinated gels, but it was a very grateful number that did. I stood there and yelled, "I HAVE CAFFEINE!" and they veered to me like I was magnetic.

4) The iced-cold sponges, when offered by adorable twin DP's People, were a HUGE hit.

5) Whatever it is you're giving out, you need to yell what you've got. People zone out too much to focus on what's in your hand and process whether or not they need/want it. You just shout, "I'VE GOT GELS!" and thrust it at them. Sometimes they grab it. Sometimes they don't.

6) DreadPirate is, quite often, unconscionably bossy.

Now, I'm ashamed to admit that I did break USAT rules in that I provided a service to one athlete in particular; I let him grab my butt as he went by. Since this is not something I would normally provide to other athletes, I believe it constitutes a violation of USAT rules for "outside assistance". Should he be disqualified? Only the newest assistant ref can answer that question for me...

Anyway, it's a blast, and I've decided that this is what i'm going to do each year at this race. It will be the easiest first place I've ever gotten.

Oh, and to add an addendum to Baboo's post: not only did he race in $25 shoes from WalMart, but his breakfast was poptarts and my patented cheap energy drink: Swiss Miss "Pick Me Up" with caffeine mixed with hotel drip coffee.

Who says you need a lot of money to race? Er, other than the $6k tri-bike, I mean...

...

Planning and thinking out loud.

work: Still waiting for my federal background clearance to go through. So, meanwhile, I'll be doing intake interviews at the counseling center, and working on a parenting skills class that I'll teach one evening a week. I still have a couple clients that I'll see in the evenings.

I'm getting pretty excited about working at the same place as Baboo. We did a practice run of commuting by bike to work from our gym, and it was a little over an ahour for me at a very leisurely pace. Lots of uphills. Baboo can pull it off in about 50 minutes.

home: still working on the surprise for Baboo. More on this later. We continue to hemmorhage money as flyers for senior photos, dance tickets, and senior announcements come home.

training: Following some orthapedic advice commonly given to athletes recovering from an injury: If it hurts, don't do it. I'll kill two birds with one stone by getting up early (I've been sleeping as late as 6:30 am on some days) and attending spin classes at 5:30 am 3 days a week, followed by lifting and swimming. Ride in to the counseling center 2 days. May do some stair-stepping, too. (Uphills don't hurt, just downhills) All this is designed to keep up my cardio fitness while I recover.

Next planned run: Wednesday, October 15th. TRAILS ONLY from now on.

...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bagging another race. >Sigh<

Timeline of events for my lower left leg:

August 24th: I ran several miles down a (paved) steep incline from the La Luz trailhead and felt the first whisperings of someting going on near my left ankle. Not a pain, really. Kind of a nerve twinge. Week of August25th: Tapering. Two short runs, one of which was intervals. Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow. Rest some more.

August 31st: New Mexico marathon. After running six miles down Tramway Blvd. at a pretty moderate pace, my left lower leg hurt like hell, on the outside, down near the ankle. Went away pretty soon after I finished. Week of September 1st: recovery, and I noticed a faint twinge up above my ankle from time to time. It was like a sudden weakness where I felt like it might give out, more than it was pain. Otherwise, feels pretty good.

September 6th: I decide to bag the Cotton Country Sprint.

September 12, 13: I have three good legs at the Colorado Relay. After the last leg, though, where I descend 900 paved feet in 3 miles, the leg is not happy. Aching, hurting. The pain is wrapping itself around to the front now. Week of September 15th: Resting, no running.

September 21: Trail run on La Luz. New shoes. Leg feels great and stops hurting. I gain a false sense of security.

September 24th: A hard run on pavement and sidewalk over 5 miles of hills in Rio Rancho. Pain. Lots of pain. The last half is nearly impossible to run. For the rest of the week, pain when walking, even, although it's much less. Running is next to impossible. I note, after some experimenting, that the pain comes when I'm flexing my foot, not merely from putting weight on it, so I'm about 99% sure it's not a stress fracture. I think I have a seriously pissed-off tendon.

See the pattern? i sure do. NO MORE DOWNHILL RUNNING ON PAVEMENT!!

September 27th: I bag the Elf Butt Oly, and make an appointment with my doc. And hope the xrays are negative. And try not to eat too much, because I'll only be cycling and goodness knows how much I LOVE cycling, she said in a sarcastic tone and swimming for the next 3.5 weeks, along with icing and compressing. The plan is to see the doc on Monday and follow up in 2 weeks with a cortisone shot if I need it. I mutter my favorite curse-word phrase: Sh**!PI**!FU**!DA**!!!!!!

Next up on the calendar: the 50k at Palo Duro on October 18th, at which point I will no longer be running on roads. Trails only!

...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ewwww.

It was SUCH a grand idea: One last swim to say goodbye to summer, out at Cochiti. The three of us, Cindy, Courtney and myself piling into my Fit, heading up the highway, laughing and carefree.

We drove the 40+ miles and then parked at Cochiti. It was a beautiful morning, and we laughed and joked and then headed down the beach, kicked off our shoes, tossed our towels town, and then headed into the green shoreline.

You read correctly.

There had been a major algae bloom, and the water was full of algae, so full that it ran in virulent green streaks through the water. Some of the individual algae plants clumped together; as you lifted the clumps, they fell apart and some of them stuck to your hand while the rest slid off. Mmmmm.
The rocks under our feet were slippery. Green bits floated throughout. In water up to our knees, we could just make out our feet through the green haze.

We waded out to about chest deep, eventually, to see if the water was clearer away from the shore. It wasn't. We watched, unbelieving, as Courtney ran out and then dove through and swam about 200 meters out in the green water.

"Let's just think of it as a spa," I said, running my hand through the green water. "A redneck spa. People pay money to plaster this stuff on their skin, you know. Facial masks. Hair masks."

"I'm not putting my face in this stuff," Cindy retorted.

We watched Courtney swim some more.

"I wonder if this is the stuff that people eat," I said. "You know, like chlorella." We stood around, and watched Courtney splash and swim some more way, way out in the lake. Wondered out loud if the stuff was harmful. Waved our arms and hands through the water some more. Watched the green clumps slide off our skin.

We waved to Courtney. She waved back. Then we agreed that, 40 miles or not, we just weren't going out in this muck.

Oh, well.

Goodbye, summer.

...

Grumbling.

Well, I just don't know what to think about my leg. After last weeks' nearly 8-mile uphill trail run, it felt great, and after Wednesday's almost 5-mile road run, it felt like hell. I've come to the conclusion that
1) Maybe the trail running was good for it, but the road running (actually 2 miles of it was on cement sidewalk) was bad for it, or
2) It has become self aware (the pain) and It is letting me know who's boss, or
3) I'm cursed.

Either way I'm impatient or depressed at any given time because I can't run. Also, my eyes are itching like crazy; what's THAT all about??

Other than the pain, the run to the pool was okay. Nice pool. But, they don't offer towels, shampoo, and conditioner, like my club does, so i had to carry items in a small backpack. I'm going to stick to running from the gym out to the bosque and back, and then swimming.

But back to the running. So, this weekend, I will be doing the Elephant Butte Olympic Triathlon, affectionately known around here by locals as the Elf Butt, and CLEARLY, I will be very slow. I may end up walking the 10K "run". We'll see.

Meanwhile, it's the most beautiful time of year for running, and my left leg won't let me. Stupid left leg.

...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ready for my Closeup, Mr. Deville.

Actually, what I am ready for, is to go back to work.

I'm just not very good at being idle. I haven't taken on any new clients at the counseling center because of the new job at the VA, and so I have a small number I'm seeing each week. There only so much I can do before I just get bored doing it.

I'm just not used to being off work. The last time I was off work and without an income was in 1990 to early 1991, for about 15 months. We had an agreement that I would stay home, and I was pregnant with my youngest. By the time he was born, though, I thought I'd go out of my mind, and 4 months later I was in college and working part-time. Other than that, and this current part-time employment, I've had an income since I was 15 years old.

It's not that I'm not enjoying it; I am. It's just that I'm not used to being home, and so I'm not industrious in all the ways that full-time housewives are. I haven't worked out a system. I still have it in my head that I'm just on vacation, and so I waste time with all manner of nonsense: facebook, Scrubs' reruns, and email take up a lot of time. If I were off more of the time, I'd probably establish some sort of routine that was efficient and allowed me to do all manner of useful things. As it is, I'm just plain idle. I'm waiting for the VA to complete a background check on me so that I can be allowed to work there.

So, for the next couple weeks I'm going to make a list of project to work on and get finished. I'm hoping the ones I have in mind will be especially happy-making for Sweet Baboo, since they center mainly around me getting rid of boxes of old teaching crap.

This morning, I'm going to run to the aquatic center, swim, and then run back. We'll see how THAT goes.

...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Batteries: Recharged!


Dear Diary,

Late this morning Sweet Baboo and I went for a run/hike/crawl on trail #130, aka the "Crest Trail". One hikes 4000 feet to the top (about 10,000 feet above sea level) and is then moving along the crest, hence the name.

Some day, when I can get to the top, I will know the CREST. For today, though, the plan was to just move out for an hour, gently, and then turn around and come back. I did about 7.8 miles total in 1:45:00, moving from about 6000 feet to around 7200 feet altitude and then back again, using a combination of hiking and running. I stopped once or twice to take pictures and stretch.

I forgot to charge my Garmin 305. I used it from time to time to check my elevation, but otherwise it would shut off if I tried to run it for too long.

I carried my Nathan hand-held bottle and wore a Patagonia bra-top, Cw-X running tights, race-ready fitness shorts, pink Injinji anklets, and my new New Balance 811 trail shoes. I could have left the tights behind because it got pretty warm. The Patagonia top they don't make any more, but it's a lot like the CW-X firm support top. What I like about it is that it's a high-necked crop top/bra and is great for running for us, um, Athena types.

The NB811s worked pretty well except that I might need a teeny bit of arch support in them. This trail is kind of u-shaped in some places, causing my feet to roll inward a bit. Lots of trails are like that; natural wear and tear causes them to dip in the middle, and for a few miles, it's no big deal, but for ten+ miles, it can be a big deal. Also, the mico-anklets from Injinji aren't so great; they sink beneath my shoe top and then the ankle parts of the shoe rub on me. All-in-all, however, the shoes gave me great footing and I was pretty comfy on this trail, which is coverred in most places in loose sand and lots of rocks.

This is going to be a great trail for me to train on and get ready for the Ghost Town 38.5 in January!

As for my leg, well, it was there, and it whispered to me from time to time but never shouted. I'm happy to report that I'm definitely on the mend. It actually feels better now after the run then it did before it. About 15-minutes in, I stopped and stretched, and then I stretched right afterward as well, especially paying attention to my calves and IT band.

And best of all, after a week of no running, the batteries are again recharged. Ahhh. I'm once again bearable to live with!

...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sports nutrition on the cheap PSA

I've been meaning to share some things I've dug up. These are things Baboo ate during his 100 mile ultra run. Recall, if you will, that the only problem of note that he had was blisters.

Solid food: How about this for a pre-race snack or cycling meal? Per serving, it has 210-220 calories, 32 g. carbs, 9-10 g. fat, and 3 g. protein, along with 214 mg. sodium and 20 mg of calcium. It's also as little as $1 for a box of six to eight of them. What do you think it is?





Wait for it....





It's a Pop-tart. A serving is one pastry. Not quite as nutritious as a power bar, but it has less fiber (which you don't need for running) is way yummier. Not sure which kind to buy? Taste review here. Remember, if you're running at a moderate or fast pace, no solid food within 2 hours before you start your run.

"Oh, but Misty, what about nastry artificial ingredients and transfat?"... for one event, a little transfat isn't going to hurt. But if you insist; do crazy: Even the organic ones from Whole Paycheck are still cheaper than a power-bar. Remember, if you eat this on an ultra, you need to drink a lot of water. The key is to create a slurry of carbs and water in your stomach. Your body needs a lot if water to process carbohydrates.
Here's another one: Fig Newtons. Per serving (2 cookies) is 116 calories, (100 for the fat-free ones) 22 g. carbs, 130 mg. sodium, 65 mg potassium, 20 mg calcium, small amount of protein.

Okay. Moving on:

Energy drink
12 ounces of brewed coffee + 1 packet of the cheapest instant cocoa mix you can find. Or even the most "expensive" instant cocoa you can find. It's stil cheaper than a red bull.
results: 120 calories, 170 g. sodium, 1120-179 mg caffeine, small amount of fat, protein, and calcium.

Liquid nourishment: Your favorite flavor of Slimfast-in-a-can is actually easier for many to digest than Ensure because it has less fat, and is way cheaper. You can get them for about $1 a can on sale. There are generic versions, too. Sweet Baboo likes the cappacino ones. Yuck. My favorites so far are Vanilla.
'
Concentrated calories: Forget shot blocks. Instead try "Great Value Fruit Slices" candy from Wal-mart. I ate these at the Colorado relay. For three pieces you have 130 calories (33g carbs) and a small amount of sodium, no fat, no protein. There are eleven 3-piece servings per $1 bag.

Good post-race drink: Chocolate or other flavored soy milk. My favorite is silk spice, it tastes like egg nog. You've got protein, potassium, and lovely soy protein for those hot flashes. Okay, that's just the chicks among us. The, ahem, mature ones.

Now, everyone's stomach is not the same, so you might have to experiment. I am not a doctor or sports nutritionist nor do I play on on TV, so don't sue me if any of these make you puke. As always, you choose to follow my dumb advice at your peril.

Why all this matters. On a long run, like marathons and ultras, you can get mighty sick of one food or another. Variety is the key. But you don't really need to spend a fortune to feed yourself.

It's worth a shot, anyway. And if it works, you'll have more money leftover for lovely triathlon gear. Plus, now you have and excuse to eat cookies and candy while you run.

...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Paranoia.

Dear Diary,

Today Sweet Baboo asked me if I wanted to go for a run on the Bosque trails here in RR, and I had to say I was really, really, tempted--but no. Not yet. I'm still paranoid about my leg. I rode 22 miles today, and then got a massage, and tonight I'm going to rest the leg and watch "The Office" on DVD.

Tomorrow--that is the day. I figure, 3-5 miles to see how I feel. Short and flat. Sunday, I'm planning a longer ride up Tramway with TigerLily, and then, depending on how I feel, a 2-3 mile brick run. Then I'm planning a swim and run on Monday. I need to get back to my one+-hour-a-day of cardio, because I'm paranoid about getting out of shape. I hate not running. I sit around and imagine the fat cells plumping up, one-by-one. By one. And they're mocking me.

Think I'll have some more pumpkin-spice kisses now. 'Cause that's the way I roll. Just because I'm worried about being fat doesn't mean I'll alter my diet or anything. Jeesh.

...

Yeah, I'm sick of it too.

Sure is a lot of crappy stuff in the news.

Sure am sick of reading about it.


So here's some fun stuff to read:


Have a nice day!

...

Day 5 of no running.

Erk.
I have lots of reasons to run, too. Other than the stress of work, it's just so GORGEOUS out! The mornings are wonderful. But that twinge I got while walking through Target buying Pumpkin-Spice Kisses reminds me that I still have to take it easy.
The pain is on the front of my left leg, way down down near the foot. Used to feel like a nerve thing, now it feels like a bruise. I don't feel anything when I press on it, so no shin splints or stress fractures.

It's times like this I'm tempted to speed up the healing and spend my money by trying homeopathy, magnets, acupuncture, aromatherapy...any and all of the things that have no scientific basis in working or proof that they work at all, because of the little voice that whispers, "what if...they did work... just this once?"

What IF?

I was told once that if I didn't believe in alternative healing, my negative energy would keep it for working.

>coughBULLSHcoughIT<

Real stuff that works will work whether I believe in it or not. Besides, I know what it is, and it's very simple: It's a pissed-off tendon from doing lots of running downhill. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.

>sigh<

Tomorrow, (Day 6 of no running) I'll do a short (20 mile) ride on my bike, and then get a message. Then, lots of ice and analgesics. Saturday (Day 7) evening I'll go watch Mini-Baboo at his XC meet, and then try a short, flat, evening run. That's the plan, anyway.

I need to run again! Without it, I'm just sitting round, lazy and getting fat on Pumpkin Spice Kisses.

...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

To my old high school chum...

Dear Sharon,
Thanks for agreeing to being part of the background investigation for my new job.
Yes, you aren't mistaken, I did just start a new job, but what's happening is that I'm finding that I need structure much more than I thought I did. The whole, care-free, hippie attitude at the counseling center is starting to drive me crazy.

For one thing, I didn't think that "non-profit" meant that NOBODY would get paid. One of our main funding sources, AMCI, ran out of money in August. Well, they got some more money this week, but in the meantime, we've been told that we won't get paid for the 3 or so weeks that they were out of money. In other words, I may have been screwed out of over $600 by the city of Albuquerque for therapy that I provided, based on vouchers they issued and won't honor.

WTF? I thought non-profit meant for the organization, not that the workers didn't get paid!

Other things that are starting to get to me:

  • People playing the flute, or guitar, or singing or laughing loudly right outside the window when I'm trying to conduct therapy.
  • A receptionist making fairly egregious errors that result in patients showing up even though she's had three days to inform them that their therapist will be gone that day, or therapists who go home, having been told they have no more clients, and then the client shows up.
  • Four of the staff members who regularly bring their dogs. It's a very small space, and most of them are large dogs (boxers, mastiffs). Only one of them is a certified therapy dog. Have you ever tried to have a professional meeting over the sound of a large dog eating lunch leftovers? It's a loud, sloppy noise that fills the room. During other meetings, I get a wet nose stuck at me constantly, and I'm constantly tripping over them in the 3' wide hallway.
  • Clients that hang out there all DAY, and have to be told, "You can't smoke here. You can't sleep here."
  • The whole lack of office space thing.
  • The whole lack of payment thing.
Still, I really am glad I gave it a shot, and lucky for me that I have the patient Baboo who tolerated this madness. I'd rather try something and have it not turn out right than to never have tried it and always wondered. No hard feelings. Time to move on.

Sooooo, yesterday, I turned in volume 1(19 pages) of the required federal paperwork for my new job in psychiatric research. I've been hired, but if you're contacted as part of the background investigation, say nice things about me, okay?

Counting down to sanity and structure and an office...oh, and a salary...

Meanwhile, I can always cope by calling up good, local friends and venting.

and, of course, there's always these:





...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

And he's going to carry a gun?

When he was seven, he said he wanted to be a policeman. I patted his head and said, "that's nice, sweetie." (The following week, he decided he wanted to be a hair dresser).
Then in 9th grade h
e developed his plan to join the military, be a military police officer, then go to college and study criminal justice.
Monday, we're m
eeting with a Navy recruiter.

Holy cow! I remember him standing in the corner, 3 feet of arms-crossed defiance, refusing to behave no matter how long I made him stand there. It seems like just yesterday, he was arguing about wanting blue hair and baggy pants, and he had to look up to look me in the eye.

Then, today, I'm looking at the package prices for his his cap and gown and graduation announcements. On the form I filled out, it says he's
5'11", and 190 pounds.

But this is how I'll probably always see him.

...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hard Choices.

Reasons to do a sprint tri this weekend:

  1. I'm already signed up for it and paid the entry fees.
  2. We'd have to drive for nearly 6 hours Friday night because the sprint is on Saturday.
  3. It's the first sprint I ever did, and it would be cool to compare my times then to now.
  4. If I do it, I could be Champion Athena again this year.
Reasons not to do the sprint this weekend:
  1. I think I'm developing an overuse injury, and I should rest this leg.
  2. If I don't do it, I can probably still be at least 2nd Athena in the SWCS.
  3. Mini-baboo has an XC meet this weekend, and I could go watch him run.
  4. I've got an Olympic Tri on the 28th, and I should rest and get ready for that.
Hmmmm. I guess...to be honest, it makes more sense to stay home this weekend.

...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thoughts upon returning from vacation

Dear Relative/Internet Friend/Distant Acquaintance,

Please don't send me emails of stories or links to YouTube videos in order to try to change my political or religious beliefs in one fell swoop.

Also, don't forward emails about things that have been disproved on Snopes.com or any of those "Chicken Soup for the Soul" type stories. I'm actually kind of offended when I receive things that are forwarded by people who don't check them out first. Especially annoying are those emails that suggest that by forwarding this email I'll get blessings abundant or by failing to forward it I'll cause bad things to happen. My estimations of your IQ will drop pretty dramatically as a result, and you may get one of these...

I do have pretty firmly entrenched political beliefs. I do a lot of reading and observing and attempt to do this via original sources, not rumors. I base my decisions about political candidates on the fact that they are applying for a job: I decide who to "hire" based on how they have dedicated their lives professionally, not on what they say they'll do or claim to believe. To me, how someone dedicates their lives professionally says a lot about their values, and it's unlikely that a single event will change my vote (or my life), and please don't take that statement as a personal challenge.

Dear one, I know that you believe very strongly what you believe. Good for you. Just don't bug me with it. Oh, and by the way: the bikini picture of Palin was photoshopped, and Obama usually does salute the flag.
Now leave me alone.

...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Colorado Relay: DONE

We gathered, the ten of us, at 5 am in Georgetown, Colorado, to begin the race.

Our first runner, Tim "Sloggo" took off at 6:15 am. From l-to-r: Back Row - Dave, Baboo, Me, the Jimmy, Tim, "Sluggo", "Mighty Mike", Bones. front row: DreadPirate, SW TriGal, Flamin' Mo.

Each of the ten of us ran 3 legs, rotating in order the thirty legs over 170 miles. I did legs 10, 20, and 30. Baboo did legs 9, 19, and 29, and then tagged off with me. I was followed by Tim twice, who did legs 11 and 21.

Leg 1:
This one was at 9000 feet. It was cold, and rainy. I managed a 13:15 mile over the 6.8 miles, but I was sucking wind, baby. Several other runners went the wrong way and cut the course. (There was a startling number of people who did not bring the required print-out of the maps and directions of their legs.)

Leg 2:
This one was at 4:45 am-ish. Sweet Baboo tagged me and off I went, armed with a headlamp and my "Running Energy" playlist on the iPod. My run was at about 6000 feet above sea level, which is closer to what I'm used to, down Col. Hwy 6 from Eagle to Gypsum. It was 6.55 miles, and I managed a 11:55 pace, which is good for me.

Then I tried to sleep, while people banged van doors and talked loudly. :-( Eventually, I put on my iPod, which has a 55-minute "White Noise" file on it.

Leg 3:
This was warmer, again around 6000 above sea level, down from the outskirts of Carbondale through the town. It had some pretty steep downhills, dropping 900 feet over the first 3 miles. it was 4.4 miles and I managed about an 11:20 pace. About 20 yards from the finish the group joined me and we crossed the finish line together.

Then, most of us had beer. I will tell you that I'm NOT a beer drinker. I'm more of a fruity drink kind of gal: Margaritas and Rose Wine. But after a marathon, I'll drink pretty much anything. After that, we went to the hot springs at Glenwood Springs and soaked in the hot pool and the cool pool.

Statistics' and Miscellanea...

As a team, our average pace over the 170 miles was 10:05 minutes/mile. "Mighty Mike" had the highest climb and the longest run, 13 miles up over a 12000 pass. That would have WIPED ME OUT.
Then, close to the finish, Mike fell and cut his hands. Here he is displaying the stigmata.

Most of the runs were between 4 and 8 miles, with a few shorter ones and a few longer ones.

Temperatures ranged from low 30s to upper 60s. Some of us ran through snow. All of us did legs in the dark. Some of us had various leg issues. One of us got sick.
The relay ran continuously for the 30 hours that it took us to finish.

...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Next, on the agenda.

I think I wrote a bit about the Colorado Relay in the past but I didn't want to detract anything that DreadPirate had to say about it so I haven't said much. So here's the scoop.
Thursday morning, we all fly out to Col. Then Friday morning, at 6:15 am, I'll watch the first of my teammates take off on a 30-hour, 170-mile relay across Colorado. Then somewhere in the next 8 or 9 hours, it will be my turn.
Here's the breakdown:

  • Ten (mostly) New Mexico Outlaws, and one alternate/driver.
  • Two vans.
  • Thirty hours
  • One hundred seventy miles of Colorado roads, paths, and trails.
on foot.

SO each of us has three legs, 10 legs apart. So for instance, I have legs 10, 20, and 30, which I believe may be the easiest ones. I yelled loud and clear for these: I was all, "I CALL LEGS 10, 20, and 30!!" There are some things worth latching onto and worrying like a pit bull. Like corner cubicles with leaky ceilings. and slightly flattish downhill relay legs. but anyway.
Sweet Baboo has legs 9, 19, and 29. So, he'll be handing off to me, and we'll always get to be in the same van. Oooo! Maybe we can neck.

Weather forecast:
Georgetown (start)
Friday High 62 degrees F
Friday Low 39 degrees F
20-40% chance T-storms/Rain/Snow

Carbondale (Finish)

Friday High 70 degrees F
Friday Low 40 degrees F
30% chance T-storms

I don't know how the "chance of precipitation" works in Colorado. In New Mexico, chance really means chance, and it's more like, "There's a 30% chance it will rain somewhere today, but it probably won't be here."
This whole endeavor has involved much planning, and our esteemed team captain has done most of it.

I'm stoked! It's going to be a blast! 11 sweaty, wired, up-all-night, running triathletes crossing 170 miles of Colorado byways.

...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Pre-empting Myself.

If you don't normally read, "Steve in a Speedo" then you don't want to miss this...This is Steve after finishing a half iron this weekend. He did the run wearing this constume, and then stuck around to cheer in the finishers. Not sure what I'd think rounding the corner of the end of a half iron and seeing this:



...but it makes for a great video!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Beauty morning.

This morning we went running in the foothills of the Sandias - a whole bunch of us doing the Colorado Relay this Friday, including the BIRTHDAY BOY himself, on his first run since Leanhorse 2 weeks ago.

At dawn we headed out. Since I'm nursing my leg, I took it easy, heading out at the breakneck hiking pace of about 17 min/mi. I did the first 2 miles that way, then turned around the did a slow, loping jog back at about a 13 min/mile pace. On my iPod, I was listening to Winter, by Josh Radin, Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson, and a host of other really nice, peaceful songs.

I wish I had pictures for you, but all I had with me was my crappy phone. So here's all I have.

You know, I've tried meditating before. Oh, I've heard all about how fabulous it is...the peace it instills, how it clears your head. Problem is, I have a problem with attention. Kinda hyper. So sitting still and just being is, well, not in my repertoire. Sweet Baboo says I remind him of a butterfly, flitting from one thing, or idea, to another. Meditating, for me, is hard. And, I've tried, believe me, and half the time I find myself checking my watch, and the half of the time I fall asleep. It's not for me.

But a run at dawn in the foothills? Or on the bosque? Baby, that is my meditation! When I'm done there's nothing, or nobody, that can piss me off.

I jogged past a man who was huffing and puffing, and called out, Beauty morning, ay? and he looked at me like I was insane. It just seemed like, in that moment, in this place, that Good morning was an inept salutation.

I was struck with how lucky I was to be moving on my two legs across this wonderful space, and how, if it weren't for Sweet Baboo, I might not have ever wound up here.

And then the sun came up and blinded me and I tripped over nearly every damned rock in my path. But it was still a great morning.

...

Friday, September 05, 2008

The leg bone IS connected to the ankle bone.

So, I've got this thing in my left ankle that I felt the first stirrings of when I was running downhill from the La Luz trailhead. Then I didn't feel it again until starting around mile 16 last Sunday at the marathon. It's like an electric shock, and I know it's a nerve thing.

I don't feel pain much, but when I do, I get all dramatic. I'm all, what's wrong? What's happening? Waaahhh! This isn't fair! Why should I suffer? Why me? I get all whiney. It's not pretty. Then I look up stuff on the Internet and get seriously hypochondriacal and anxious.

When I do have pain I don't push through it. That is not My Way. I don't stiffen up and hobble. Instead, the offending limb protectively goes completely limp and I go DOWN. So, in the marathon I would stop running at the aid station, the nerve would tweak, and I would almost fall over, and EMTs would rush at me shouting YOUOKAYOUOKAYYOUOKAYYOUOKAY?

Yes, I'd tell them. Thanks for being here, now relax and put that stretcher away.
It stopped hurting when I ran. But I couldn't run forever.

Right after the marathon I came across the finish line, stopped, grabbed my left leg and just about dropped to the pavement. I think Pirate has the picture. After the marathon, it was gone.

Then, yesterday, I did some sprints. I started out at the gym ran easy about 2 miles at a 11:15 or so pace out to the bosque. It was dawn, and it felt AWESOME.

I stopped, stretched a tiny bit, and then started the first of my 1-minute sprints. In these, I sprint 1 minute, and walk one minute. Rinse, repeat.

Then a really cool thing happened then: During the 2nd or 3rd sprint interval, suddenly I felt smooth and swift. I sped up. I glanced down at the pace meter on my Garmin, and it said 6:53. Holy smokes, for nearly a whole minute, I ran a a sub-7 minute pace.
Then, the nerve tweaked, and I was all like, Yay! Ow! Yay! Ow!

I did a couple more sprints after that and then jogged the last mile back to the gym. Ow, ow, ow.

Last night, while sitting, it tweaked again, and all day today it's been constantly there. I looked up stuff and knew that it wasn't shin splints, a pulled muscle, or stress fracture. There was no swelling or bruising, so what the hell was it?

I went to see Tiger Lily for a message and she pressed 2 places that made it tweak: the back of my hamstrings, and the muscle that runs down the outside of my calves. She also noted that my left leg, for some reason, was way tighter than my right. The tight muscles are probably pressing on this illiol tibulol fibulol some kind of nerve...So, that's what the pain is. Right now, it feels better.

The solution? Lots of stretching, no running for 1 week, and THE FOAM ROLLER.

Pirate, of course, is gleeful because if there's anything she loves more than an assisted lat pull-down machine, it's the foam roller. She's into pain and suffering, that one.

The rest of the rx:
Lots of stretching, every single day, after soaking in a warm tub to warm muscles. Stretch my ITB, hamstrings, and anything else I can access.
Lots of cycling and then stretching immediately after THAT.
No running for 1 week.
Wednesday, another message.

Then, I should be in good form for the Colorado Relay, which starts next Friday morning at 6:15 am. Fingers crossed. We've been planning this for 11 months, and I don't want to let anyone down.

...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

In which I are hired.

It's official. The job I interviewed for last Friday is mine.

I hadn't said much about it because I've applied for so many jobs outside of teaching in the past couple years and I didn't want to get invested in the outcome of the interview, only to be disappointed again.

I was also offered an interview at a local high school for the position of math teacher, but after I stopped laughing I politely declined.

My new job title:
Study Coordinator. I'll be employed by a private medical research foundation and be working out of the VA hospital. It's a 3-year position.

What I'll be doing: at any given, any or all of the following:

  • Visiting mental health agencies, hospitals, and clinics and presenting research studies to clinicians and possibly patients, in order to recruit subjects for psychiatric research.
  • Administering psychometric tests to patients before, during, and at the conclusion of research studies.
  • Coordinating paperwork for research studies.
Things said in the interview that made me wnt this job:
  • "We really don't have time to track your comings and goings or micromanage you."
  • "The research mostly involves the more severe and persistent mental illnesses."
  • "You'll never be doing the same thing all the time."
I'll still work at the counseling center for a couple evenings a week, but I needed something a bit more dependable; that whole sometimes people show up and you get paid, and sometimes they don't and you don't thing was a little unsettling. I'm not yet at a point in my career where I can be that casual about income.

And, my record is intact. Other than a fifteen-month mutually agreed-upon break right before and after my 3rd child was born, 17 years ago, I've never not had an income since the age of fifteen.

The new job pays about the same as I was making as a HS teacher, but the raises will come more often and at predictable intervals.

I'll get to ride in, ride home, and lunch with Sweet Baboo.

Cha. I'm stoked!

...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

So, dear, how was your day?

  1. The "failure to show" rate at the counseling center goes up after holiday weekends. Most of everyone's scheduled clients didn't show up today. We don't get paid when that happens. Tomorrow, we'll be making calls and checking the inmate list at the county jail.

  2. Yet, for some reason, there were no offices available today. None. I sat in the group room to do charting and write treatment plans.

  3. Then, for some reason, while I was conducting therapy, there was someone outside the window playing a flute. Loudly. I never knew a flute could be that intrusive.

  4. The city program that provides the majority of our funding just ran out of money during their first fiscal quarter of the year. This means that many providers won't get paid, but worse, many clients won't get the services they were promised by the city.

  5. I just made an appointment for my youngest child's senior portraits. Damn, I'm old.

  6. Still no word on the new position I interviewed for. I'll talk more about it if I get hired and about how very cool it is. If I don't, then I'll write a lot about how much it would have sucked anyway, or how NOBODY will ever be as good for them as I would have been >sob<.
BUT...
  1. I My day started with weight-lifting, a 1-mile shuffle, and 90 minutes of yoga. My legs feel pretty awesome now.

  2. I made several people smile today without meaning to.

  3. I got my first check for my percentage of reimbursements. my first official payment as a Licensened Mental Health Counselor. I should have taken a photocopy of it but I was all wrapped up in getting it to the bank as soon as possible.

  4. I would like to announce that DreadPirate is like, the best friend evar. Not only does she send me to places to buy girlie clothes on sale, but she totally talks me down when I'm in the middle of a freakout. She doesn't feed into my neurosis, either. Just totally talks me down.

  5. Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes should be out. Any day now.

  6. I got a pedicure today to reward my feet for carrying me 26.2 miles. I was also celebrating the fact that I now have all my toenails at once.

  7. I think, I mean I just thought I could feel a hint of fall in the air today. I TOTALLY LOVE FALL. Fall is gorgeous cool afternoon runs, crisp mornings, and FLANNEL SHEETS.

  8. Hershey's kisses has special limited addition Halloween flavors: pumpkin spice, candy corn.

  9. Sweet Baboo and I just bought seasons 1 - 4 of The Office.
    The Office and FLANNEL SHEETS! and Baboo! Woo hoo!
...

Monday, September 01, 2008

Pee Ess:


August Distances:

Bike: 133 miles
Run: 78 miles
Swim: 4131 (shameful!)

Weights: 6+ hours

I've biked
1511 miles and ran 578 miles this year so far.

BTW, If you aren't caught up in the whole FaceBook thing, you may not know about Yearbookyourself.com.

A warning: it's addictive.

...

Downhill is overrated at the New Mexico Marathon: A Race Report.

I'd have posted this sooner but I was out for a Labor day swim with the Outlaws. True to our creed, motto, whatever: we don't just go hang out on a beach somewhere: one of us gets a kayak and a bunch of us swim the 2 miles across Cochiti and back. Three of us (me included) swam only swam the one mile because we ran yesterday.

I wore mySpeedo Zoomer flippers, gambling that they would make for a nice relaxing swim and also loosen up my post-marathon muscles, and I was right: my legs felt awesome when I came out of the water. After that I kicked off the flipper and went out and back again to get another half mile in. I noticed that my ankles were much floppier, something I find to be useful and plan to experiment with soon: fins= flexible ankles. Hmm.

so, anyway, I ran the New Mexico marathon yesterday, my ninth marathon in my ninth state. It's the first one I've done in New Mexico. As Baboo was off on a manly camping trip with his brothers, my peeps took good care of me.
my choices were:

1) Get up before 3 am, drive myself to downtown Albuquerque and catch a shuttle at 4 am that drops me off at the start line at 5 am...or,

2) Spend the night at SW TriGal's house, which was just a couple miles from the start line, and get personally dropped off at the start line, after which Pirate and her mom took me to lunch and then drove me to my car.

Soooooo, which would you choose? yeah, me too. I have awesome friends.

Now, before I went to bed last night SW TriGal told me that it was supposed to rain all day. I brushed that off, because it never, I mean almost never, rains all day in Albuquerque.

SO of course, I woke to a morning in which it was sprinkling continuously. It continued to do that until right before the start, and then stayed dry until I was about halfway through the marathon, and then it just sprinkled a little. I had my usual pre-long race event power breakfast (CupNoodle Souper Meal, fake chicken flavor) and then we headed out.

In case you don't know, running in the rain is not delightful or refreshing, particularly in 80% humidity. It's wet and sticky.

I was excited about this race because there was a long downhill (after a long, gradual uphill) and I wanted to see how well I'd do. I'll be honest and say that my training for this race was crappy, but I had practiced a few downhills, especially after the group run a couple weeks ago.

I also only brought three gels, which is crazy stupid. There weren't any on the course. In fact, I have two complaints, but they are biggies:
1: They provided only gatorade and water
2: a startling lack of potties - one around mile 7, some more at 13, and that was it for the rest of the course.

I hung with Cindy at the race start, and then she took off and I never saw her again. The first 7 or 8 miles of this marathon is a gradual uphill, but it's not too bad. I'm not too certain, however, how much it took out of me that I might have needed later on. I rounded the curve with a 12:17 pace and headed into the downhill.

At one time I was playing leapfrog with a girl in a blue/black shorts and shirt combo, and her husband kept showing up and handing her stuff from the car. He accompanied her throughout most of the first 8 miles of the course) and we were running side-by-side, and I'm pretty sure he yelled, "go on! get her!" I knew I couldn't live with myself if I didn't beat blue/black outfit girl, so I took off and never saw her again until after I finished.

So here's the problem with the downhill. First off, I was far more excited about going downhill than I should have been. That said, I did very well, no quad problems at all. I flew down all 6 or so miles of it at about a 10 minute pace (don't laugh; for me that's flying) and skipped all my walk breaks. My average pace at the bottom of the hill, when I turned on 4th street, was 12:09, and I was STOKED.

But, then...skipping the walk breaks was a mistake, because I blew out completely and when I got to the bottom, where it's flat, I didn't have much left. And, I was out of gels. So I did my usual 1-minute walk, 1-minute run thing, getting slower and slower, and I also had to leave the course and jog about a quarter mile round trip to the portapotties that were off the course in another location, which sucked up more time.

I should have known from my Ogden experience that a downhill course doesn't necessarily mean an easy time!

So for the last 11 miles, I got slower and slower and watched my average pace inch upward to where it was when I finished.

Results: My average pace (according to Garmin) over a total of 26.57 miles was 12:44, for a finishing time of 5:37. That's actually pretty good for me. I'm still hoping to break 5:30 some day, and I'm inching closer. I PRd, and must grudgingly admit that the torture Pirate inflicted on me two weeks ago helped prepare me for this race.
Meanwhile, the usual top three finishers in my age group (3rd place finished it in 3:40) are safe from me. I was 18/20 in my age group, and 115/138 female, and 361/411 overall (I think).

As usual, the volunteers were wonderful, helpful and encouraging.

Recommendations: There's over 4300 feet of climbing, and over 5000 feet of descent. Welcome to New Mexico! Good course, be careful not to blow out on the downhill. Make sure you train on some downhills. Bring your own nutrition; it will not be provided, but there's plenty of water and gatorade. Take some TP, and a trowel and WEAR A TWO-PIECE. There are very few places to go off the trail on 4th street, the downhill part of tramway, or Rio Grand; it's too inhabited and/or there's no vegetation large enough to hide you.

Seriously, don't wear a one-piece, so that you can squat behind a bush if you need to without stipping naked. that's all I'm gonna say about that.

...